Tuesday, 1 January 2013

No Knighthood!

"We the undersigned wish to make it known that we believe the award of a knighthood to the internationally maverick and outspoken psychiatrist Simon Wessely, whose views on several serious illnesses are seen to be patently wrong, and are widely abhorred by the experienced patients he purports to want to help, brings the whole honours system into disrepute, and should be withdrawn before the progress of real science, makes finally clear to all, the folly of his particular and peculiar sickness beliefs."

I have mixed feelings on this petition. I've not signed it, and I'm not going to.

I do not like Simon Wessely anymore than the next person with M.E.. I do not like his views, I don't like his trials, I don't like the way in which he's manipulated the medias view on our illness, and I do not like the way in which he's labelled himself as a victim because he's been criticised. Every scientist receives criticism; I've never heard of any of them claiming victimisation because of it though. Wessely is a nasty piece of work whose first priority is his reputation, and second priority is protecting his research. His patients don't even factor.

So when I see that he is nominated for a knighthood I am not happy. Not impressed. It shouldn't have happened. As it happens I actually like our Queen. She gives off good vibes. It's not her fault that she was born into monarchy. I certainly don't support the abolition of the monarchy. I feel very sorry for her that she has to be in the same room with The Weasel though. I would like to think that there was some chance of her doing the research behind knighthoods, but in reality someone else will do that. No doubt it Simon minions who nominated him. It certainly wouldn't have been any legitimate M.E. doctor, or an M.E. patient.

But I can't make myself sign it. Professor Wessley has gone out of his way to label people with M.E. as being crazy. He hasn't merely claimed that M.E. is a mental illness, but because people object they are crazy. He's over-exaggerated the number of people who complain, and the manner in which they complain. He overplays his hand. He knows he has more power than any of us will ever have. It must be fun to kick people when they're down.

I do not want my name associated with this petition. I don't want to be among those he sees as victimising him. I don't wish to give him that pleasure. He doesn't know me from Adam of course.

The fact that the petition is worded badly is besides the point. I could pick it apart easily, making it clear why it would never get anywhere, legally, but that isn't my point, unusually. The point is that the truth will out eventually. Wessely will be seen, by history, as a very nasty man. He'll be seen as someone who deliberately prevented very sick people from being treated. With any luck biomedical research will show this within our lifetimes, and have him called up on it. But again, not my point.

My point? What is a knighthood? These days it doesn't actually mean anything. It's an ego boost for him. It will mark him in history. And because of who he is, he will be remembered as being a creep. That isn't what he has aimed for, obviously, so by being knighted I feel he's stabbing himself in the foot really.


  1. Sorry you don't feel able to join this protest Olana (the wording you quote was actually my suggestion as the original was a one liner demand). The petition does not have to be taken as a serious attempt to unseat Wessely and I don't think that any of the contributors really believe that it would. But, if you actually look at the 'views' section that lists the comments made by signers from *all over the world* you get a clear impression of the widespread damage done by Wessely's beliefs and influence. This shows that it is not just a bunch of people out to 'victimise' him: I only read one comment that was just an offhand putdown as of last night. In its original form I did not particularly like the idea of signing, but in its current form I think it is a valuable means of protest that will, hopefully, get into the media and let people know that though many of us have been forced to lie down we do not have to take being kicked quietly. If the intended recipients do actually read the views attached to the petition I think it will help disprove the claim that this is just victimisation: the claim that already got him his grossly undeserved Maddox prize.

    I have suggested a more positive campaign to get a 'balancing' honour for 'our side' in the form of Prof Hooper. Again, mostly for publicity purposes and for giving the chance to show some solidarity among sufferers. I've applied for a gov petition to award Hooper, and will await their reply with interest.

    Best wishes,

    1. Hi Steve,

      Thank you for your comment. As you can see from other blog posts, I don't receive many comments, so I'm flattered, thank you. Are you the original author of the petition? You sound so from your wording. As such I apologise, I am not having any kind of dig at you. I'm not asking anyone else to not sign the petition; I wouldn't have provided the link to it otherwise.

      I hope you realised that I have not said that Wessely HAS been victimised, but that he claims he has. Part of my worry over the petition is that it will be taken as part of that 'victimisation'. A lot of people who have never contacted him, never even thought to do so, will sign it. I have no doubt about that at all. I nearly did, for example, and would never write to him. I suspect that the number of people who sign the petition will be used as 'the number of people who victimise' him. It gives him a figure to use in his little ego boost. It will be A LOT higher than the people who really have targetted him, and with the way he twists things I have no doubt that it will be used to compact the view that people with M.E. are mentally ill.

      Sadly, I am only too aware of the damage he has inflicted. I was not aware however that he had received the Maddox Prize because of victimisation. I thought it was supposedly because of his naff research.

      Who is Professor Hooper? I would be interested to learn of him, if he is your advocate for knighthood. Yesterday I suggested Sonia Poulton. I think suggesting others is the best way forward. It is my intention to follow this blog piece with one suggesting it .. but this week has turned into an utter nightmare so it may not happen for a few days.

      Kind regards and good health to you Steve.